Financial fair play rules: Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain latest revelations

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

The media has reported that, following leaks from FIFA, the World Governing Body of football, UEFA, its European counterpart, may reopen its previous investigations into alleged breaches of their Financial Fair Play Rules (the FFP Rules) by the leading English and French football clubs, Manchester City (City) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).

According to a report last week which appeared in the German Magazine ‘Der Spiegel’, based on information from FIFA, it was alleged that City and PSG overvalued sponsorship deals, in order to comply with the FFP Rules, under which European Clubs are required to break even financially, that is, to balance their spending with their revenue.

Both Clubs have strongly denied these claims.

Breaches of the FFP Rules result in fines and exclusions from UEFA Competitions, such as the prestigious Champions League.

In 2014, both Clubs were fined £49 million, of which £32 million was suspended, for breaches of the FFP Rules.

UEFA has stated that it may reopen previously-concluded FFP investigations on a “case-by-case” basis where “new information comes to light” that the FFP Rules have been “abused”.

The FFP Rules have been criticised in some quarters, but UEFA has defended them by pointing out that, 7 years ago, European Clubs had a cumulative debt of €1.7 billion, whereas, in 2017, they had a cumulative profit of €600 million.

Other European Clubs could have challenged the sanctions handed down to City and PSG in 2014, but none of them did so. Equally, in the light of these latest revelations, none of them has called for any new sanctions to be imposed on City and PSG.

It will be very interesting to see how matters develop!

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@orange.fr’